Ministers approve eight-day paternity leave in Israel

Bill has support from all parties in the Knesset.

January 31, 2016 17:48
1 minute read.
Newborn baby

Newborn baby [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INIMAGE)


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Fathers of newborns will get eight days of paternity leave if legislation approved Sunday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation becomes law.

The bill proposed by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) and signed by legislators from all parties in the Knesset grants fathers vacation time for the eight days after their child is born, at the same time the mother has time off.

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The days would be divided between three vacation days and five days of sick leave, which the employer would pay.

Currently, while a couple can split the three-month mandatory government-paid maternity leave, the mother must take the first weeks, which creates a situation in which fathers must go back to work the day after their child is born or use their vacation days.

“I’m glad the government chose to support young families,” Zandberg said. “The bill will create a new reality for tens of thousands of new parents… allowing fathers to take part in the first days after the birth, the most difficult and happy days in a family’s life.”

Zandberg added that, since she submitted the bill, hundreds of couples contacted her to ask when it would pass.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who proposed a similar bill years ago as an opposition MK, said: “This is an important bill that will help thousands of couples and strengthen the family unit in Israel."

“Fathers also deserve to be with their newborn babies and women deserve to have the father near them in sensitive and important times,” Ariel said. “This is a good bill and I am glad to have the privilege to be one of its initiators.”

Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) called the bill an “important and groundbreaking step toward promoting egalitarian parenting” and said his panel will make sure to bring the bill to a final vote as soon as possible.

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